That's about as accurate a response as I could give. It's really hard to explain to a 17 year old what you're asking. Don't get offended but when you get old enough to know the answer you will know the answer.
Also, this is the Lounge, maturity level is subjective here
Awww, I'm sorry I'm not being mature enough for your high-schooler tastes in response to a question posted in the Lounge. I can tell you one thing I DON'T miss about being young: being an invincible, all-knowing, uber-serious prick. I don't miss that at all.
Though I do recall from my senior year of high school giving a speech for a public speaking class. The assignment was "Pet Peeves", my topic was "Welcome to the Real World". I proceeded to launch into a twenty minute tyrade about how adults who looked down on kids, sneered and responded to our every crisis with "Welcome to the real world" were out of touch. They didn't understand the trials and tribulations of being a kid, a teenager, a high schooler. They had grown so cold, bitter and out of touch with their past, they had forgotten what it was to be in 'our' shoes. They didn't know. They couldn't understand. And they needed to give us credit for living 'our lives, our way'.
If I could go back in time, I would kick my 17-year-old ass across the room. I was an obnoxious, pompous, self-absorbed little prick. Sometimes I wonder how it is that my mother didn't murder me in my sleep for being an asshole.
When you are young you are sheltered from many things. True, not every young person is shielded from crap. There are cases where Hell Is For Children.(Pat Benetar song, look it up.) When most young people get older they realize exactly how hard life will be. Wait until you leave home for school or are out on your own working. Then you will see things differntly.
When you go without a real meal for weeks and weeks because you can't afford it.
When you make a concrete distinction between needs and wants and realize that in order to survive, one must go.
When you realize that you won't get to see your mom and dad and siblings every day like you used to.
When you realize that you will never, ever get another summer vacation.
When you are alone and scared of what will happen to you in the next few days.
When you cannot make rent.
You will look back at childhood and adolescence and realize that it just was not that bad.
However, like many of life's lessons, it has to be experienced to truly know.
I believe that the real reason people miss their youth was because of the limited responsibilities. High school allows you to socialize with friends, stay up late, work a shitty job that you can quit at the drop of a hat, mouth off the authorities, mouth off to your school instructors... it allows you to fuck up & fuck off. As an adult if I just ditched my career I would loose everything that I worked for. If I got arrested, it would set me back. If I went to a concert & got into a fight I might loose some customers because I got a black & blue face. If I speed & get a ticket I could loose my license. The adult world is all about worrying about choice vs concisenesses. Being a youth is all about worry about how to get into & out of trouble. Showing off for friends about how much you 'don't give a shit' because you're cool. *shrug* least that's how I remember it.
Also I don't fit into my spandex that I loved to ware
When I was 17, I had the freedom to go get drunk every night, if I had the money. I could go party. I could work or not- it didn't matter, my family supported my stupidity because they were legally required to. I could basically piss the time away and do nothing useful, which is exactly what happened.
Here's the long and short of it: when you're a kid (ie, YOUR AGE NOW- YOU ARE A CHILD), you have free time. However, as a teenager, you probably already have some idea of what you'd like to do with your life (hence you are here, you probably have some programming goal like 'make an awesome game' or something.
Most people have this idea, this goal, and don't work towards it. This is normal and actually vital to every society, because without people like this, there would be nobody to, eg, flip burgers. However, there are among us those who spent their teenage years in libraries studying for some far-off distant goal, or doing internships for no pay for some dream, or otherwise pursuing something that- believe it or not- you can't do when you're older.
You want an idea of what will eat up time in your life just 3 or 4 years?
-you will have a girlfriend (or boyfriend... whatever) who will waste all of your time wanting to do stupid shit that costs you money. This is the best case scenario. girl/boyfriends at this age are pretty much universally a waste of time.
-you will have a shitty job that wastes all your time for very little money, which you can learn nothing while you're doing it (at least not without getting creative). by shitty I mean flipping burgers at mcdonalds, cleaning up poop in a toy store, or unloading truckloads of boxes at 3 AM for Target.
- you will probably not be supported by your parents in any meaningful way. you will have to cook, clean, do laundry, buy your own groceries, etc. This will be done on your time, when you are not busy with 1) work or 2) your <invariably stupid> source of orgasms.
-if you are in college in any meaningful degree, you will have that work load to deal with as well. assume about 40 hours per week eaten up for a light course load (or roughly 8 hours of class, homework, and office hours per day, five days a week- not including projects, which are usually very time consuming- at least another 20 hours a week)
-parties with your stupid friends! nothing like saying "I have all this shit to do, so I'm going to get drunk and play halo with these nice guys who somehow magically seem to have a lot of free time" (probably because they lack jobs, girlfriends, chores, meaningful degrees, or any combination of those). parties will take up more time than they are worth. I'm not saying you shouldn't have a drink or that you shouldn't have friends, but make a big effort to not have stupid friends. stupid friends go nowhere and try to keep you from going anywhere without them. the saying "friends help you move: good friends help you move bodies" should clue you in to the fact that good friends are motivated enough to kill or understand that killing should happen (not necessarily literally, I'm just sayin'). If in doubt, if your possible friends spend more than an hour or two a WEEK on computer games (and they have a normal sleep schedule), they aren't motivated enough. this applies to you too.
-don't even get me started on recreational drug habits. the "legalize it!" shitheads are the ones who lack ambition. Unless you are doing meth, or mild doses of cocaine, or some other drug which allows you to function at a higher capacity or for an increased length of time, don't even bother. alcohol, while fun, should not be bothered with as anything but an emergency "If I don't have a drink I'm going to kill eight people and a puppy", and NOTHING BUT ALCOHOL SHOULD BE USED FOR THIS BECAUSE if you have a beer, or a shot of vodka, an hour later you're fine, and you're only out 50 cents. if you have a joint, you're out <at least> ten bucks and out of commission for at least 5 hours.
so now tell me about your dreams and goals- when will you have time for them? if your answer is anything but "NEVER!", take heart- you are still young enough to be allowed to be that stupid.